POPULARIZATION OF MEDIOCRITY
By Bardhyl ZAIMI
Times of the modern technological world come as a login from the 60s by one of the best and most paradoxical media developers, Herbert Marshall McLuhan. He is known as a media philosopher, while his dramatic warnings mark the end of “Gutenberg Galaxy” and the book as a medium. McLuhan’s name also relates to the definition of the “global village” that in that period meant the dominance of television as a medium. However, this author will in no way point out that the book as a medium has died, but I would point out that the book remains important, while its role is changing.
The idea of a “global village” is not related to the Internet, but to television as a medium. However, the “global village” is already an unbreakable “metaphor” of the world of the Internet that defines the multilayered dimension of communication. For McLuhan, “the media is a message,” while the term “global village” has more negative significance for him for possible totalitarianism that alters the personal identity of the book and stimulates the unpredictable mass identity.
Later in the theories of the media, the term “global village” begins to undertake other connotations of mass communication and marks a moment of revolution in the world of technology we know now through the online media. In media theories, the omnipresence of online media is also explained in another aspect, that is, the democratization of information. It is this interactive interaction of all in the online media, especially in social networks, that creates a huge gap between the quality of information and the penetration of vulgar forms of receptivity and communication in public spaces.
At the theoretical level, the dilemma has already been raised whether we live in the “global village”, understood as a cultural opportunity for communication, or we live in a time of the “global city” that allows extreme vulgarities to surface in the public sphere. The interaction of online media on social networks has already created another habit of public opinion, which models the mediocrity of all possible manifestations of human creativity.
The loss of the reference system greatly eliminated the relevant opinion, what we know as competent opinion for certain areas. In the chaos of the “global village”, especially here in us, the right to speak, the freedom of expression is in most cases transformed into a hysterical partisan reaction that goes beyond the blurred thought that it can continue with the various social realities and that knows how to articulate objectively always in the function of human progress primarily understood as culture and humanity.
Moreover, this hysterical stage of average inclusion in the public space through social media misleads the individual as a conscious and cultivated subject, fueling the logic of the crowd that comes and consolidates itself as an intermediate system in the social and institutional sphere. This mediocrity is really emphasized in all pores of the system, either as power or social thinking, while being put into function of clans created to produce empty contradictions. And this mediocrity is already spreading in the media and occupying the country in the public space, rejecting what we are accustomed to recognize as a good intellectual and professional thought.
One insult, another vulgarity becomes relevant, popularized, while competent knowledge based on knowledge, research and process verification is expelled on the margins of the media sphere. This is a time of spreading mediocrity in social media, which appears as a new kind of totalitarianism, and which constantly attacks the public space. John Stuart Mill somehow predicted that “there is a tendency of things around the world that the mediocrity becomes the driving force in the human environment”. As for the French essayist Joseph Joubert, “mediocrity is excellent to the eyes of mediocre people”.
The complexity of mediocrity is also explained by Gareth van Onselen in an essay of mediocrity. According to him, in order to understand the true tendency of mediocrity, we need to be able to know the specific characteristics. Among other things, such features are: apathy, suspicion, shallowness, ambiguity, fear, rejection, moral resentment, stubbornness and need. According to him, mediocrity isolates these characteristics to refuse deep understanding and appreciation of the world around him. He highlights this loudly and we can see that he is identical with nationalism that is always moralized.
The average always maintains a conflicting relationship with perfection as a human ideal, because it does not endure differentiation, which makes the soul to be special and creative. The average recognizes the general and refuses to continue with the specifics. The average has a reduced relationship with language and always lives between antagonism and celebration as a state of extreme affirmation. When an antagonist, it is struggling and denying the meaning of the words, while in a celebration it is drunk with a fictitious interpretation of words and spicy expressions. The main goal of mediocrity is to nullify expectations, that is, differentiation and, consequently, social progress as an ideal. Mediocrity aims at equality as an amorphous state, such as not moving.
Gareth van Onselen emphasizes that “the average has affinity for ambiguity and generalization, it is also a good friend of the clichés”. According to him, clichés are moving us away from the research, but they also serve for another purpose. For the uneducated, they are allusions of wisdom and the average uses them to impress those who can be impressed in order to maintain self-esteem in this way.
All these characteristics of the average can be seen present in our “global city”. A kind of uniformity in very aggressive cases that does not allow differentiation of the individual, but at any time tries to keep it in the world of clichés and reduced language, or George Orwell’s “Newspeak”.
Getting out of this pattern of mediocrity certainly requires a constant effort. Media literacy remains a very important dimension for the empowerment and development of media receptions and public opinion. The relevance and creativity in the media and public space can be restored only if a consolidated and verified opinion appears that is expelled somewhere on the margins and lives under the ruins of the average clichés and discourses.
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